It is tragic when a teenager makes a mistake that will stay on their permanent record and follow them for the rest of their lives. The situation is much more severe when the minor has to face an adult sentence for a crime. Under certain circumstances, prosecutors can request a transfer to an adult criminal court, for the child to be tried and sentenced as an adult. This situation can be a parent’s worst nightmare.
Certain crimes can result in a transfer
Typically, a juvenile court tries juvenile crimes. However, Louisiana law lists a set of specific crimes that can qualify for a transfer to adult criminal court if the child is at least 14 years old. These crimes are:
- First-degree murder
- Second-degree murder
- Aggravated kidnapping
- Aggravated or first-degree rape
- Aggravated battery committed though the discharge of a firearm
- Armed robbery committed with a firearm
- Second-degree rape if the victim was a child at least two years younger than the offender
If your child’s criminal charges are for one of these crimes, there’s a good chance that the prosecutor will request a transfer, and that your child will face an adult trial.
The age of your child matters
If your child is at least fifteen years old, more crimes are added to the list of crimes that can qualify for a transfer to adult criminal court. These additional crimes include things such as second-degree kidnapping, attempted first or second-degree murder, and aggravated burglary.
If your child commits one of these crimes, the prosecutor has discretion on whether to transfer them to adult criminal court or not. However, there are certain crimes that will automatically transfer your child to adult criminal court if they are fifteen years old or older, regardless of the prosecutor’s wishes. These crimes are first and second-degree murder, aggravated rape, and aggravated kidnapping.
Having a teenager face criminal charges is a horrific experience for the teenager themselves and for their parents. Thankfully, just because your child is facing criminal charges does not necessarily mean that they will have a conviction. They still have the opportunity to prepare and present a solid defense to the charges.